Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sorvagen - A Fishing Village

We rose to sunlight streaming in the windows. What joy! Grey skies and rain become wearing after a while. Emdee and Jaydee were still sleeping. Jaydee still had the car key so Hubbie and I decided to walk to the nearest shop to get some basics for breakfast. There was nothing at all in the cupboards, not even a grain of salt.

We walked along, with me stopping to take photographs every few seconds. Luckily the shop wasn’t too far away and Hubbie wasn't too hungry. Though the shop looked small it had a good range of goods. It even doubled as a pharmacy with medicines in a locked cabinet.

 First on the list was fresh crusty bread, then fruit -nectarines, kiwis and bananas - milk and sugar for coffee and some washing powder to wash my clothes.

The others were just up when we arrived back. We had breakfast, sitting on the terrace, admiring the view. I had one of the kiwis. It came with a scoop. When I topped it, it was yellow! I tasted it. It was like someone had made a bad cross with a pineapple. It was soft and sweet. Hubbie then noticed a sticker saying “Kiwi Gold” I’ll look out for that in future, to make sure I never buy them again.

Across the harbour the Lofoten Wall rises dramatically. We could see a lake and a waterfall. We decided to go for a walk to the waterfall. We told Emdee and Jaydee to go ahead  and we'd follow at our own pace or to be exact, my pace. I’m very unfit and walking uphill is not my thing. I thought I might make it to the waterfall to take some pics. Because of this, I brought the tripod. Sorry, I should say, Hubbie brought the tripod. The scrabble over rock, to the waterfall was not to difficult and I took it in my stride. Taking the photos was a different story. Even though I set up the tripod I found it very hard to see the LCD screen on the back of my camera. There is no view finder and I'm traditional, I like a viewfinder. Up to now it hasn't been a problem but in this bright sunlight I couldn't see a thing. Most of my photos turned out "flat". Michael Herrmann where were you when I needed you? I'm going to need more tuition! I tried several different settings but I could not get what I wanted. Grrr!! 

We decided to go a little higher. We followed a trail across a rickety bridge – a couple of planks and on up the mountain. Well, I puffed and panted and Hubbie had to take my hand and pull me up some of the “steps” but I made it to above the falls. There was another lake up here. This time there was a proper wooden bridge cross the stream. Water was being pumped from the lake. I imagine it was the local water supply. From here, it flowed down the mountain in a waterfall.  I was taking some photos on the bridge when Hubbie decided it would be fun to rock it. The glare he got soon stopped that. I’m a scaredy cat and rocking bridges are not my thing.

We met Emdee and Jaydee at this point. They had climbed much higher and were on their way back down. We returned to the lower lake together and ambled back to the house. My left leg, which had been in agony the previous day, from the climb up the tower of Nidaros Cathedral was now joined in it’s agony by the right one. They told me that the walking would get rid of the build up of lactic acid. Hmmm, not sure if it was successful! But I was so proud of myself for getting as far up as I did.....and I have the photos to prove it.

Emdee suggested we go out to eat that night as we were all tired after the walk. We went to the local restaurant, Maren Anna. The staff appeared to be Italian and were very helpful and full of fun. The catch of the day was halibut. I had saike and Hubbie had a steak. The food was delicious. But we were certainly still at Norwegian prices. €100 for 2 main courses. Wow! We’ll definitely be eating in tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lofoten and the Midnight Sun

On arrival into Bodo, we took a taxi to the airport. I had read that it was in walking distance, just 3km, but even though my bum was numb, I didn’t fancy pulling my suitcase that distance.

Bodo is a small airport. We checked in and went to get something to eat. We had the nicest airport food I have had anywhere. I had an open prawn sandwich. Hubbie had a roll filled with ham, cheese and salad. I also had fresh strawberries and orange juice. Hubbie stuck to the coffee. Emdee and Jaydee had bowls of salad. You could pick and choose whatever you wanted from the salad bar. The surprising thing is that by Norwegian standards the food was good value. Hubbie and I paid about €30 for our meal.

 Later I decided to have a coffee and a cake. I went up to the counter and saw an absolutely sinful chocolate square. It was like chocolate fudge cake with caramel. I wasn’t sure if the plane would get off the ground if I indulged. I decided to risk it.  Here was the kicker, €13 for 2 coffees and a piece of cake! But, believe me, that chocolate cake was worth every cent, I mean Krone.

We boarded our small plane. It was only a twenty minute flight, it would have been 31/2 hours by ferry. Hubbie would never have survived that. He can't look at a boat without getting seasick! As usual he was a gentleman and allowed me to have the window seat, right in front of the propeller. I had a great view of the islands as we approached. They looked mystical rising out of the mist.

 Landing safely, we felt a few squibs of rain. It seemed to follow us everywhere. The weather forecast was good and we had hoped for some sunny if cool weather.

 We collected our bags, the airport was tiny, there was just the one small luggage belt and went out the front to pick up our hire car. Eirik met us as promised and sorted out the formalities. The formalities? There were very few. He just wanted to see the driving licences of anyone who was going to drive. All four of us could drive if we wished. There were no credit cards required. I just had to sign a form as the hiree  and we were tp bring it back with a full tank of petrol.

We found the E10 and set out for Sorvagen. The scenery was mind-blowing. I would have loved to stop the car in a couple of places as the sunlight – it was now 10 o’clock at night – poured through gaps in the mountain peaks. However, it had been a long day and my companions were tired. If we stopped everytime I wanted to take a photo we would never reach our destination.

Eventually we arrived and Elin came to show us to the house we had rented. I’ll have to say, our faces dropped. The grass was knee high, there was a couple of wooden planks  instead of a step and the outside could certainly have done with a coat of paint. Inside it was similar. I was reminded a little of student accommodation. I thought of the page in my folder, of the beautiful little wooden white house I had rented and had to wonder if this was the same place. However, the views were magnificent -though the windows could do with a wash. Emdee was a bit overcome, tired after the long trip. The bedrooms were what left most to be desired. The second "double room" had a family bed, a double bunk bed on the bottom a single on top. The third was 2 separate single beds.  We wanted to pay by credit card, Elin had several Rorbu and houses to let but she told us this house was privately owned and she wanted cash payment. We did not have enough cash on us so we said we would pay the next day. As it turns out we paid the evening before we left. We were not approached for the money, it seems like we must have had honest faces. We were trusted not to do a runner! 
The garden at 02.00. I played with my photo-editing programme here. 

Leaving Emdee and Jaydee to settle in, Hubbie and I went out for a walk. It was still bright, even though now it was approaching midnight. What a beautiful place we had come to, it was a small working fishing village. I was looking forward to roaming with my camera. On our return, Hubbie  went to bed. I sat for a while to sort out my photos. I needed to save them to my external hard drive and delete them from my memory card. By the look of things, I was going to need a lot of space over the next few days. We had arrived in a photographers paradise.

Amidnight walk, you can see a faint rainbow

I watched the sun dip behind the Lofoten Wall, then rise again in the East. It was so beautiful.

As I sat in the peace and quiet I looked at my surroundings again. Yes, the house was very basic. There was no kettle, no clothes line and the outside certainly needed some TLC but the inside was quite pretty and it was spotlessly clean apart from the outside of the windows.

I was looking forward to what the new day would bring.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Crossing the Artic Circle

Leaving Trondheim, we set out for the train station in a light drizzle. Our early morning train was going to take us to Bodo, crossing the Artic Circle in the process. It would be a 10 hour train journey. This was to be followed by a 25 minute flight to Leknes on the Lofoten Islands, our next stop on our Norwegian adventure. We found our train and our assigned seats. This time, strangely, though the journey was longer, the train was not as luxurious and there was no wifi to help pass the time.

Wifi would just have been a distraction, it wasn’t necessary as the scenery was more than enough to keep us entertained. Fjords, mountains, rivers, rolling farm land.
All the following photos were shot through glass on a moving train. I did my best:-))

Looks like a rural idyll, at this time of year anyway.

Church on a hill

Railway Station

.....and another

 About an hour and a half before our journeys end we crossed the Artic Circle. In the distance we could see a visitors centre, but the crossing itself was marked by little pyramids of stone. I had been waiting eight and a half hours to take this photo but the sun was finally shining and of course the windows on the opposite side of the train were reflected in the glass so it is a bit difficult to see the actual cairn.
Snow-capped Mountains

...but the first blue sky we had seen in days

Pyramid marking the Artic Circle, and of course I got the reflection of the windows opposite. These were my worst photos from the moving train. The windows didn't open!

Here the countryside was bleak and snow lay in patches on the ground but there were beautiful blue skies, the first we had seen since we arrived in Oslo. We were  approximately 700m above sea level. You would wonder who would want to stay in this house that seems totally isolated. 

Just above the Artic Circle, all on it's lonesome!

In no time at all the train began to descend from the heights and once more we were greeted with the wonderful lush countryside.

We've descended towards Bodo and lost the blue skies

What a pretty setting!

Sea and Sky

Lupins were everywhere.
Our train journey was just coming to an end. It was just as well, as all the excitement had Emdee and Jaydee out for the count. It had been a long day and there was more to come!